Marion "Suge" Knight didn't punch a parking valet last month, his lawyer insisted on Wednesday — another patron did.
At a press conference in Claremont, California, attorney Rose Kogeman, who handles Knight's parole issues, told reporters that her client had been arrested without cause (see "Suge Knight Arrested After Allegedly Hitting Parking Valet") and that she had eight witnesses to back up the claim. She said the witnesses have already given statements to the Parole and Community Services Department, which is processing its report.
On June 21, Kogeman said, Knight went to the Los Angeles nightclub Papas to meet with Minister Tony Mohammed, the western regional director of the Nation of Islam, to work on plans for an upcoming 100,000-man March for Peace in October to promote peace among gangs. When they left the club to retrieve Knight's car at a nearby parking lot, she said, "another patron, while waiting for his vehicle, got angry and shoved the valet." That person's identity remains unknown.
"Mr. Knight maintains his innocence in this matter," Kogeman said, "and believes that after a thorough investigation by the parole department, he will be exonerated."
Mohammed, also present at the news conference, said that he saw no physical contact between Knight and the valet. He said that he was with Knight from the time they entered the club until Knight got in his car. "I saw Mr. Knight enter into his car, never striking anyone," Mohammed told reporters. "You never saw Mr. Knight touch anyone. In fact, when he first arrived, he tipped the parking attendant [$100]."
In reference to the police report that claims Knight punched the attendant in the face from behind, Kogeman told MTV News, "You'd have to be fairly talented to do that."
Knight is currently in custody, but Kogeman said she's trying to convince the Board of Prison Terms to release him until a hearing is held to determine whether he violated his parole. Parole officials have up to 45 days to hold that hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. If Knight's parole is revoked, he faces up to a year in prison.
Knight originally received probation in 1992 for weapons and assault charges. He broke that probation in 1996 by participating in an assault in a Las Vegas casino. Knight then served nearly five years and was released on parole. He served another two months earlier this year after violating his parole by associating with a known gang member.